A Medical Device Daily

Small Bone Innovations (SBI; New York), a new company formed by merchant bankers Viscogliosi Bros. (VB; also New York) to create a single source of small bone and joint implant products made its debut at this week's American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS; Rosemont, Illinois) annual meeting in Washington.

VB said it has “quietly“ acquired during the past year U.S. and European companies and technologies in the “small bone“ field, as well as licensing and distribution rights for a Swedish biological treatment for arthritic thumbs and the Actipore porous metal technology from Biorthex (Montreal).

Those companies and technologies have been formed by Viscogliosi Bros. into the SBI entity.

SBI's acquisitions include Avanta Orthopaedics (San Diego), Envision Manufacturing (Morrisville, Pennsylvania) and Xtremi-T (Lawrenceville, New Jersey).

The company also has secured rights to market and distribute Artelon bioabsorbable thumb spacers from Artimplant (Vasta Frolunda, Sweden) and the Actipore porous metal technology from Biorthex.

As a result of the acquisitions, SBI said it has a pipeline of 40 new products under development.

Anthony Viscogliosi, chairman and CEO of Small Bone Innovations and a principal of VB, said: “We recognized the potential for growth and innovation in small bone surgery a decade ago. With the prevalence of arthritis in our aging population, surgical techniques are a compelling alternative to drug therapy. As a result, we have translated that vision into a company quite different from competitors in the sector by becoming a vertically integrated, single source of products and technology for small bone & joint surgeons.“

SBI has more than 50 employees in the U.S. and Europe and has assembled a broad portfolio of FDA-approved implants to treat both small bone and joint degenerative diseases and trauma patients.

VB is deeply involved in the discovery and development of promising orthopedic technologies. In 2003, the firm sold its artificial spinal disc company, Spine Solutions, to Synthes-Stratec (Oberdorf, Switzerland) for $350 million (Medical Device Daily, Feb. 10, 2003). The firm has been credited with creating the concept of spine arthroplasty as an alternative to fusion in repairing spinal disc diseases.

SBI has been featuring product demonstrations at its booth on the Washington Convention Center exhibit floor and has scheduled an industry briefing for today at the Renaissance Hotel adjacent to the conference center.

Established by Marc Viscogliosi, John Viscogliosi and Anthony Viscogliosi in 1999, VB was the first venture capital/private equity and merchant banking firm dedicated to the musculoskeletal/orthopedics sector of the healthcare industry. The brothers have a combined total of more than 35 years of experience analyzing and investing in the sector.

Also at AAOS this week, Conmed (Utica, New York) said its orthopedic business unit, ConMed Linvatec, a leader in sports medicine technology, launched several new products at the meeting.

They include:

The Pinn-ACL CrossPin System for ACL reconstruction, the first crosspin device on the market that allows the surgeon to visually confirm femoral graft placement and point of fixation. Pullout strength in excess of 1700 Newtons is a result of the company's proprietary self-reinforced bioabsorbable technology and unique design of the system.

The Advantage Turbo Handpiece, the newest addition to ConMed Linvatec's portfolio of arthroscopic shaver products. It features lighter weight, higher speed and increased torque, along with new enhancements such as custom blade positioning, increased aspiration performance and fine-tuned hand controls.

The LightWave Suction Ablator, which expands the company's line of arthroscopic ablation products for precise tissue removal. It incorporates a one-piece integrated handle with a 4 mm electrode and center suction for use in arthroscopic knee, shoulder, wrist, elbow and ankle procedures. ConMed Linvatec said surgeons would appreciate the combination of ablation with suction enabling increased visualization during ablation procedures.

ThRevo, the first triple-loaded suture anchor on the market, according to the company. Unlike all other shoulder anchors that are either single- or double-loaded with sutures, the ThRevo provides surgeons with three suture placement options, resulting in significantly stronger rotator cuff repairs. The product is pending 510(k) approval.

Pre-threaded Herculine — now available on many of the company's shoulder anchors for rotator cuff repair — is a new high-strength, nonabsorbable high tensile strength suture with what the company termed “superior handling characteristics.“

The Hall PowerProMax Battery Powered System, a result of the company's continued research and development in powered surgical instruments. ConMed Linvatec said the system offers the most powerful, ergonomic and high-performance battery-powered handpieces on the market. The system is comprised of six specialized handpieces, five for total joint reconstruction and one smaller handpiece for use in small-bone applications.

The PowerProMax System also offers the most complete selection of battery solutions available on the market, including several options for battery processing and sterilization.

dj Orthopedics (San Diego), which specializes in rehabilitation and regeneration products for the non-operative orthopedic and spine markets, noted that an independent scientific exhibit being presented at the meeting highlights the effectiveness of osteoarthritis (OA) braces in offloading the medial compartment of the knee in OA patients.

The study found that out of five different OA braces, manufactured by five different companies, only two were effective in offloading the knee, including dj Orthopedics' DonJoy OA Adjuster. The company said the other three braces in the study showed greater variability and less than optimal offloading capability.

The research study was led by Richard Komistek, PhD, professor of biomechanical engineering and director of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville, Tennessee).

In his research, Komistek placed OA braces on subjects with substantial unicompartmental OA with degenerative joint space narrowing. They were then studied utilizing fluoroscopic surveillance in the frontal plane of the knee while walking on a treadmill with the brace off and then with the brace on. Each brace was evaluated for its effectiveness at creating medial OA offloading during walking gait. The study was performed without any form of input or financial support from the brace companies.